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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Three Weddings and a Funeral

Within a period of 6 weeks, attended 3 weddings and a funeral. The celebration of the beginning of a new life for 3 lovely couples and the celebration of the end of a long and wonderful journey for a nice old gentleman all have 1 thing in common - food.

The first wedding in late November was at the Hilton Hotel. The only thing I can remember about the food was that I can't remember a single dish we had that night. That was how normal the food is. Nothing special and nothing bad cos I sure can remember if it is was either.

The second wedding was a lunch last Sunday at the Marriot. The food like in all good hotel was good but not remarkably so but the whole experience was marred when while in the rest room, I saw a chef (in full uniform no less) came out of the toilet. We talking of the WC here and walked out of the toilet, presumably to the kitchen without washing his hand! Did he washed his hands subsequently in the kitchen? I sure hope so. Needless to say, I shot off a letter to the hotel which duly apologise 2 days later. Alamak - and I was hoping they will give a coupon for a free meal:(

The last wedding was just tonight at a traditional Chinese restaurant - the Happy Restaurant at Tanjong Katong. The whole place has been fully renovated since the last time I was there many years ago but other than the decor, nothing else has changed even though they tried to modernize a bite. Somehow, a procession of aunties marching to Kitaro doesn't make it! Alas, old habits die hard and at one stage the auntie was trying to squeeze 3 big plates of food on the table. And towards the end, they were clearing the tables before some of us have finish the food on the plate.

The best food surprisingly was at the traditional feast after the sending off. Even though it was only 4 in the afternoon, the food tasted damn good. Could it be because of the extra 'ingredients' added by the 2 cooks? Both of them were cooking with cigarettes dangling from their mouths and the previous few nights I had observed the ashes falling down while they were cooking. Yeech:(

Friday, December 28, 2007

Swensen Ice Cream Log Cake

I don't like log cake cos half the time they are too creamy.

But got this belated log cake from a vendor and it was heavenly. Combination of ice-cream and chocolate - what more can any one ask for!

Thursday, December 27, 2007


Can't understand what is this Singaporean or is it a world wide obsession with being skinny. Read from a friend's blog that she haven't been exercising recently and is 'pui' liao. The last time I met here was like 3 over weeks ago and back than she was still skinner than this tekko uncle here. Unless she has been eating some supergrowth fish food I don't think she can grow from skinny to pui in less than 1 short month unless she is p..... hmm. And by the way I do think she need to put on some more weight.

Then there is this other girl I bumped into one afternoon at the hawker centre. Again she said she put on weight. Looking at her, I think a strong gush of wind will just blow here away.

Then there is this young lady who eats very little because yah she scare of putting on weight. And mind you, there is no way any body will call her chubby cos she's definitely skinny by any definition.

Finally there is M - she keep on insisting that she is fat! And I have to keep telling her that she can afford to put on another 2 - 3 kgs.

So ladies if you know who I referring to - u are all not fat. Go put on some more weight. The day you hear me calling you pui, than it's time to loose weight otherwise eat up!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


It's Christmas - the season of giving - gifts and more gifts. Looking at the crowd; the buzz in the malls, time must be good. Everybody seem to be shopping shopping like no tomorrow.

Duh but seriously I wonder how many especially the young knows what is Christmas?

To many, it is probably just another holiday - a nice holiday with gifts with Christmas trees, hollies, light up at Orchard and of course the jolly Santa. So for the record and the uninitiated, on Christmas we celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. Maybe got some snow in Bethelem at that time but I am quite certain no Christmas trees and mistletoes.

Nevertheless, to everybody out there - have a blessed and merry Christmas; and Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Golden Compass

Got another email from a friend forwarding yet another warning not to watch the Golden Compass. This one came with a 10 pages PDF doc written by a local pastor. At least in this case, the writer appears to be more lucid and more analytical in his writing as compared to the earlier emails which was just parroting the warning from overseas. The main arguments against the movie however is still the same - that the movie promote the belief in atheism; that God is the source of evil and evil is the source of good???; glamorize evil, sorcery, violence, withcraft and steers children toward evil. The writer also rants against the author Phillip Pullman who is a self declared atheist and whose supposingly sole objective in life is to put down God. (Question - if one believe there is no God - then why does one need to keep on trying to destroy God?)

After reading the article, what is one supposed to do? I did the most logical things any kaypoh will do - I promptly went to watch the movie! And I hereby declared that I am now officially an atheist! No I kidding!

None of us came out from the movie agreeing that there was no God or that God was evil. In fact, throughout the show, there was nothing to indicate that the show was anti-God or anything like that. It was just a simple show about kids fighting a more powerful force using magic, witchcraft - like Harry Potter (oops that's another no-no show) so may be like Narnia. So what's the difference between The Golden Compass and Narnia? Both are about children using magic to fight evil and there are magical creatures (polar bear in GC & lion in N). So I guess ultimately, the difference boils down to who is the author - one a self proclaimed atheist and one a famous Christian. So would there be a hooha if the author of this book is a nobody or a Christian?

For those who goes to movies, movies are just movies - suspend all your belief. It may come as a surprise to some peopl but there is no superman; spiderman; Luke Skywalker; Harry Potter; etc etc. Just sit back with the popcorn and enjoy the movies for its entertainment value. Don't go reading anything more into the movie.

Finally it is not right to boycott a book over the author's belief or religion. There are many wonderful books written by Muslim, Buddhist and we need to broaden our knowledge by exposing ourself to a wide range of differing materials. There is no point in being an ostrich sticking his head in the sand and trying to ignore or will away everything that is against our belief.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

19th Annivrersary

Celebrated our 19th Wedding (ROM) anniversary on Monday. Time really flies. Already officially married for 19 year (customary marriage 17th year) and the marriage is getting better and better. I guess like they say 'wine taste better as it aged'. Like any couples, we have our up and down over the years. She was always fearful that I will follow our family tradition and end up with an affair or 2 or worse more than 1 wifes but so far fortunately for her and unfortunately for me:) I prefer not to follow the trend.

As we both have to work, settled for a quiet dinner alone at Spageddies at Marina Square. Not the most romantic dinner but no choice - she has got tons of Christmas shopping to do for her office party and could not afford more time.

Tried the Pepperoni bread which is actually a pizza inside out. Quite nice.

I ordered the Seafood Sizzlelini which comes in a hotpot and filled with mussels, prawns, scallops and crayfish on top of spaghetti cooked in neapolitan sauce.

She has the Crispy Soft Shell Crab "Arrabiatta" which is soft shell crab cooked in black pepper over spaghetti in arrabiatta sauce. Not the most complementary mix though.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Life and Death

Today we cremated a person and celebrate the birthday of another.

This afternoon, we cremated a nice old gentlemen. Unlike most funerals we attended, this one surprisingly there were not much wailing and crying from the relatives. Not that he was not loved. In fact, he was much loved by most people. Even for us, who only see him at most thrice a year (his and his wife's birthday and CNY), he was always jolly and kind with a twinkle in his eyes, the type of old man that people want to hug and protect - not the typical nagging old man. So why no tears for a nice old man. He has 7 children and countless grandchildren and great grand children. I counted total of 63 names listed in the Chinese Obituary. He was not rich rich (as in wealth) just a humble hawker but what he was rich in was love - both for others and others for him. So I think the best send off we can give for this grand old man is not to shed tears but to celebrate his rich life. RIP Ah Kong!

Tonight we celebrated the birthday of Alvin. He is now officially 16, after lagging behind his classmates for almost the whole year, he has finally caught up:). I pretty proud of this boy. Yesterday he got an early birthday present - a good progress award from the MOE(?). So far he has turned out well. Not very brilliant academically, he made up for it by studying hard especially the past 2 years. Despite being almost 1 year in age behind his classmates every year, he has not allow this to put him down and in fact has done better than most of his classmates. He is also the responsible one in the house, feeding the fish when even I got lazy at times. He has willingly took up a job while waiting for his results rather than staying at home with his new toys. Now my only wish for him is that he will be more active in sports. Happy birthday boy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tokyo Diaries - The Trip

Day 1: Singapore - Japan

Dragged myself out of bed to go to the airport for the flight to Japan. Lucky thing, this time round no cramps so can walk properly. Even than, squeezed into the small little seat on the plane and stuck there for 7 hours, the legs were suffering and it was with relief that we finally touched down at Narita Airport the next morning.

Day 2: Narita - Akakusa - Kinugawaonsen

Managed to fumble our way and boarded the Keisei Skyliner to Akakusa in Tokyo. With only less than 5 minutes to spare to catch the next outgoing train, decided not to chance it and purchased tickets for a later train. Went for breakfast. Our fast real meal in Japan and what do we eat - MacDonald! Sheesh!

After 2 train rides and 4 hours later, we finally reached our first destination - Kinugawaonsen, a region famous for its Onsen which means hot spring. But it is early winter and temperature here is about 4 degree. Er how to bath in the hotspring in this type of cold? Anyway, after checking in, we took a bus to the Edo Village, a replicate of a typical village during the Edo or Tokugawa period. Cause we arrived in the early afternoon and it being winter where they close early at 4pm, we did not managed to see everything so it wasn't worth the admission price.

By 4 pm, the sky had started to turn dark and by 5 pm, it was dark as night. Back at the hotel, dinner was a buffet spread - nothing special to crow about. Next was my initiation into the Japanese public bath - suffice to say - one can get hooked to it. The hot steamy water + the jacuzzi soothed all the ache from my legs and was good therapy for washing all the aches of the marathon away.

Day 3: Kinugawaonsen - Zao

After another forgettable buffet breakfast, we set off for Zao - our main destination for this trip. Zao is supposed to be one of the premier ski resort in the country and we were not disappointed. Beautiful sceneries along the way and Zao itself causing us to forget the expensive journey (S$1,800.00 to hire the coach+driver for the 5 hours trip!). Temperature at Zao went below 0 degrees but still all the kids were happily chucking snow ball at each other.

Dinner was exquisite but than it has to be since the room was burning a pocket the size of S$600.00 per night.

After dinner - another trip to the Onsen and this time found out it is possible to walk around stark naked in freezing temperature and not feel cold:)

Day 4 - Day 5 - Zao

Tried our hand at skiing. But it is still early winter and the skiing schools has not open yet so we are left to play around with the skis and snowboard and bucket. Somehow the snow bucket was the easiest. Just sit in it and push off and zoom down the slope. Alicia took to the snowboard like a duck to water and was soon happily sliding down the slope. Everybody had a great time despite the tumble and fall.

Dinner both night was one after exquisite and beautifully arranged affair. This is the life!
More pictures of the food here

Another trip to the Onsen - told you it can get additive - this time to the outdoor volcanic onsen. This one is really bliss even though the sulphur smell was so strong. The sign there claimed soaking in it can cleanse the skin and make the skin smooth. No wonder the ladies are crazy over it. Even M went twice!

Day 6 - Zao - Tokyo: Akihabara - Ueno

Another S$2,200.00 to get the 18 of us back to Tokyo. Sigh... moving around in Japan is so expensive! (We have been warned by friends not to even try taking the taxi!).

Of all the place to stay, we stayed in Ginza - the most prime shopping area in the whole of Japan. Ginza is not comparable to our own Orchard Rd. In fact, our Orchard road is a slump compared to the Ginza! Just witness the size of the LV store. We don't even dare to go in!

In the evening, went over to Akihabara - supposingly the electronic centre of Japan. We walked into this store and it has 7 floors of electronics products + toys. My saliva was drooling at the sight of the Ultraman toys and monsters and Alvin of course got all excited at the gaming section. Er.. how come they got such a wide range of sexily dressed figurines?

From there, we move on to Ueno but by than it was too dark and most of the shops were closing which was a waste. There were many shops selling shoes with shelves after shelves of sport shoes from the major brands. Just wonder - are these for real?

Day 7 - Tokyo: Central Fish Market - Sea Life Park - Shinjuku - Ropponggi

First stop for the day is the Fish Market at Tsuggii where there is a wide range of fish - from tuna to all sort of crabs, shell fish, and exotic fish.
Alicia didn't want to see dead fish so we went to the Sea Life Park. Our train overshot the station or rather we took the wrong train and ended outside Disneyland. So now we can claim we went to Disneyland as well! Back to Sea Life Park where we saw tunas in captivity and many weird looking fishes include a fish with legs and wings (yes wings!)

From there, we made our way to Shinjuku. All of us were awestruck by the size of Isetan. We counted 4 separate buildings - one for the men, one for the ladies, one devoted just to cosmetics and got know what else! Takashimaya was just as huge - 12 storey high with floors after floors of branded goods.

In the evening - we moved over to Ropponggi - the nightlife centre of Tokyo but actually as we don't drink and pub, we didn't really enjoy it. Saw this shop promoting 'grass' or marijuana though. Was told later we should have gone to Ropponggi hill.

Day 8 - Tokyo: Harajuku - Singapore

Finally, after 7 days of freezing our butts off, we enter the last stretch - Harajuku in the morning. Unfortunately, there wasn't many of those kids that made Harajuku such a famous name. Went to the Meiji shrine and was lucky enough to catch a real wedding there. Also, the first sighting of Japanese women in Kimonos! Also, saw 3 separate long queues. Turn out the people are queuing up for some sale at some boutiques!

Bought takeaway lunch at a supermarket before we wind up the trip with a big big hole in the pocket but it was a wonderful experience and I think we all enjoyed it tremendously.

More pictures here

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Eighteen Chefs

Went for mini carbo loading at Eighteen Chefs with the family.

Eighteen Chefs is a sort of outlet serving pasta, baked rice etc. It's main claim to fame is that it was run by an ex-convict and it's mission is not just to serve good cheap food but also serve as a job outlet for delinquent youths. Source: ST Stomp Foodies Club

We ordered the calamari rings, a mango salad, black pepper spaghetti; seafood aglio olio; and 2 student set which comes with a drink and ice-cream. The student set was either choice of baked rice or chicken sausage spaghetti in tangy tomato sauce. I felt the aglio olio was a tad too dry. Alicia didn't like the tangy tomato sauce. M liked the baked rice with minced beef but all agreed the black pepper spaghetti was the best.